Whenever you do focus groups or studies you try to prove assumptions.
If you believe in your identity in Christ, over time it will produce Christ-like humility.
Proximity, not affinity, is the greatest factor in friendship.
It is faster to create community based on affinity, but it is not stable.
What is true of horticulture is true of community, eg: Bradford pear trees. They grow quickly, but do not last very long.
We deal with symptomatic problems with symptomatic solutions, rather than the foundational solution of the foundational problem. Symptomatic solutions delay the inevitable. Getting people to recognize and deal with fundamental problems and solutions is hard work.
Intentional gatherings and spaces in between create stronger community.
We don’t have the proximity that enables us to know each other, so we form affiliation based accountability groups, such as men’s accountability.
The communities are missional/purpose driven, but we shouldn’t call them by those names because of the baggage. They are about relationship.
Affinity without proximity is an unique phenomena in our history. It was caused by transportation such as cars, etc. Paul lived an unbalanced life due to his travel.
Neighborhoods tend to homogenize, particularly in suburbia. Genuine neighborhoods tend to be more diverse.
Affinity is not all bad, but affinity apart from proximity is troubling.
Fruit of proximity takes time to happen. Once you see it in action, experiencing it, your heart will break and understand it.
Luke 14. seats of honor, pharisees, table fellowships, symposias in the graeco-roman era. In the Graeco-Roman secular context, they held symposias or table fellowships consisting of all men, wealthy, and they had to be invited. They were placed at the table based on honor. After the meal was drinking, dancing, entertainment and sex. Pharisees were counter-cultural to the graeco-roman sin, but they were still all men at their symposia. Craig Blomberg-Contagious Holiness. Dropping holiness into a sinner’s gathering. Jesus inviting the sinful woman into the gathering blew the pharisees away. They would have ushered her out. Jesus would not invite family and the wealthy because they could reciprocate. He invited the lame, the poor, the marginalized. Jesus said if you will do that, he will reciprocate to you. The vision of the church is a mass inclusiveness, unity and diversity.
It takes years for everyone to get it (less 16%), others will get it more quickly.
We have to put it into practice ourselves before we can expect others to own it.
Communities in neighborhood are likely already happening, even if there is not a christian presence.
In Hebrew calendar, the day begins at 6 pm, so we cannot burn ourselves out before that. This goes against the protestant work ethic. Four hour principle: four hours of effective true work accomplished.
Potentially the leading edge of an innovation curve. Frazee admits to being a zealot.
Duke study on friendship, intimate friends.
Domestic Abuse. Single greatest solution is for people to get to know their neighbors.
Neo-urbanism. Holistic human place, mixed affordable housing where you can work, live and play. Pedestrian community. Problems: economic liability, lack of affordability, gentrification.
Cars used to be in the back allies and people in the front, now cars are in the front and people are inside.
Christians are in an isolation bubble, unaware of what is happening socially.
Table, 3-D, Traditions
To bring (ignite in the neighborhood) the presence of Jesus to your neighborhood, everyone:
Has a seat at the table (once per month)
Develops friendships, discovers stories and discerns next steps; what is God calling us to be as a community.
Creates inclusive social gatherings to foster authentic community
Learning how to discover someone’s story. (People typically will have exit strategies so they can taste of community but leave quickly if they do not like it.) People long to know and to be known.
So, everyone has a seat at the table, an event on the calendar and more genuine friendships among neighbors.
Acts 2 – They devoted themselves to fellowship and the breaking of bread.
Create traditions which develop community. Eg, block parties, halloween parties, neighborhood garage sale. Could also include small traditions, such as pick up basketball, movie night, super bowl party, uno game, scrapbooking, photography.
Book: Block parties and poker nights.
Addlist.com to search for book titles.
This is a program over the course of your life, not something to be done in one week.
We want to synch what we do on campus with what you are doing in the neighborhood.
Three biblical mechanisms. Greg Ogden: transformation of discipleship. Triads are most effective. Small group: 8-12. 8-12 is not a safe place. 1 on 1 is brutal. If you stop talking, it is my turn, but I don’t have anything to say so I make something up and it wears me out. Triads provide a cushion. With triads you don’t have to teach them how to manage groups, they are self-formed and managed. You have to teach people how to be human, but not how to manage group dynamics.
Spiritual Growth Plans: moving from activity based to journey based. Once every year or every two years. The assessment is just a tool. It is an experience of community. Two or three people go through it together.
Constant curriculum for small groups is unsustainable. Proximity gives sustainability because it is based on authentic relationships.
To bring the presence of Jesus to your neighborhood, everyone:
Understands the foundations of Scripture
Grows deeper together through the study of Scripture
Discerns their spiritual next steps in Community
So, everyone is biblically literate, scripturally engaged and spiritually directed.
Acts 2 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching
Neighborhood Relationships, Local Relationships, Global Relationships
To bring the presence of Jesus to your neighborhood, everyone:
We are asking for you to care for each other and the people in your neighborhood.
Responds to the needs of their neighbors
Joins with others to transform the local community and our local church
Extends compassion to the needs of the world
So, we respond fully to the needs on our streets, in our neighborhood and in the world.
Acts 2 – They gave to everyone who had need.
NIV Proverbs 27:10 Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you– better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
Surrender Listen Obey
We’re asking you to “step out” and become the presence of Christ right where you live.
So, how do you do that?
Now that you’ve seen how the concepts of belong, grow, and serve complete the picture of God’s desire for an Acts 2 community, there’s just one thing left to do. Over the next 30 days, we invite you to pray this simple prayer: God what are you calling me to do to be the presence of Christ in my neighborhood?
Surrender to His leading
Listen to His call
Obey His direction
Capture His answer to your prayer in writing here.
Then, along with your neighbors, get ready to belong, grow and serve!
There can be affinity experiences within proximity.
There is the granule of the neighborhood, but you can call several neighborhoods together to do something big.
Bill Hybels would say: Neighborhoods and tables are the wave of the future, but it is not there yet.
We have to start with a host who is a connector. Get out of connecting individuals. Do not become automotive scale, remain pedestrian scale. Some people are massive connectors.
Don’t try to connect people to tables, start with a leader who has the gift of hospitality.
Don’t launch until you have capacity to offer. Be able to deliver on what you promise. Don’t merely launch and idea, launch a fully realized ministry.
How many hosts do you need to cover the area of a local elementary school district?
Always name the communities so that believers or non-believers will identify and recognize it.
The table is not an open group. The table is the coordinating committee. It is where they do business. If you want to do something which is inclusive, you can never change the location. Architectural principle: third place- public space. A bar is an example. A public park is a third place in places other than suburbia. It could be a front yard/porch of a hospitable family. A third place has to be predictable. Cul-de-sacs are great third places. Neighborhood basketball.
Church-sponsored small group ministry.
If conflict happens in church sponsored small group ministry, someone either gets kicked out, or someone leaves.
In neighborhood, if conflict happens, you try to expedite it. Vacation can expedite a relationship because of the intensity; reconciliation, etc.
Neighborhood groups ideally should be purely pedestrian scaled.
If you are in a family you will have conflict.
Neighborhood is more like a family than a small group. When the first fight breaks out, it can cause angst.
If a person falls asleep at a small group meeting, it is a disaster. If a person falls asleep at a neighborhood group, it is beautiful. There is a comfort level not found in typical small groups.
Small group=a brand of industry based on a specific curriculum, study, affiliation which is not location based.
Most men do not like small groups because they have to show up and perform.
Ministry of presence: being in a room together without having to talk. Its not so much wanting to talk, but walking to be together.
Obstacle: most families do not eat together or be with each other.
Number one deterrent to prevent kids from substance abuse or sex: dinner together five nights per week. Downtime is important. Frazee uses the term reclining, after dinner, for conversation, being with each other, relaxing.
Mavens are well-connected and can direct you where to go.
The difficulty in this is transition.
Church is funded by the current idea.
Being a pastor and a neighbor. When it gets larger than the community can handle, then the broader ministry should pitch in.
What would have to change if we were to turn ourselves loose in the community.
Mechanics of the table
Driving, functional principles.
1 table, 1 conversation, family style. Everyone brings something to the table. Everyone takes something off the table. Everyone is a part of the family. Festival of cleaning up. When people are invited to bring something they always bring their best to the table. It is an expression of love.
Principle of reclining, which takes place after the meal.
Lord’s supper is encouraged at the meal.
Table is monthly.
Kids are welcome at the table, as equal sharers of their highs and lows.
Next conversation is what is God calling us to be and do.
Everybody at the table from the neighborhood knows why they are there, but they may or may not be a believer. All people belong but are not all are believers.
Robert Banks: eusebius goes to church.
Classic model of transitional change
William Bridges books
You can’t look at your people as though they do not want to change. Everybody dreams of a better tomorrow. It’s the transition that scares them. It’s like between suspended in mid-air between trapeze. It’s the letting go that freaks them out. It’s like Linus when his blanket is missing. Most people can never navigate change or transition. Allow someone to grieve the past. Just because they grieve the past, it does not mean they do not want to innovate. You have to decide you have the stomach for this.
Six steps to Transition(most people are good at the first three or the second three.) Tactical information
Personally identify the discrepancy. You are not identifying the problem; you are identifying what is not adding up. Eg, a Christian small group that uses all of its time being about itself is narcissistic. It is not being a lighthouse. Model of Nehemiah. Like Nehemiah, does it make you weep? Holy discontent. Popeye could not stand Brutus picking on Olive Oil anymore.
Create a discontent for the status quo. Make sure you do not pit your vision against the status quo, or you will lose. They need a season to become discontent. Do not cast your vision until they are discontent. Lyle Schaller, Strategies for Change. Don’t talk about solutions immediately, talk about the status quo. At Pantego, they were giving money overseas because they believed the people in their neighborhoods were reached. Difference between intention and action. People often answer the gallup/barna questions on the basis of intent, rather than truth. You can also let them read a book or take them somewhere which will expose them to possibilities. Creating discontent takes as long as it takes. Do not rush it or you will pay. You might even lose your job. Most people go straight into step five, skipping the previous steps.
Create an initiating group to draw up the initial plan of action. Looking to create a small group of people who have capacity to study the situation.
Develop support for your idea with opinion leaders. The official opinion leaders and the unofficial opinion leaders. If you will go to people you think do not like you, and if you are willing to make slight changes, they will support you in many cases. Most people do not make decisions based on facts, but based on relationships with opinion leaders.
Seek approval and implement a plan of action. Most people never get a plan of action which has the capacity to get people involved fully. Need to have a plan for handling opposition. This is the detailed plan of action. You need good detail people.
Stabilize the change. Just because you are implementing does not mean they will not go back. Constitutional changes. Most of the time you stabilize you mark endings to the old ideas (stop doing something); make sure you are adequately funding the new idea; for profit businesses always expand finances to cover the new ideas. Facilities should look brand spanking new. The ideas that are believed in must have outward funding. Tell stories- narrative. Video; you tube, etc. People are inspired by story, not by reports or structure. Baptisms will touch the hearts of people as a outward narrative of what is happening. At the end of the day, we are just neighbors: give people something to which they can aspire.
Two competing ideas: connecting to neighborhoods as fast as possible competes with neighborhood initiative. Problems emerged from that. Do we want it to be a connection strategy to the church campus, or do we want the neighborhood to be the presence of Christ.